Medical Students in the ED

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August 14, 2012 by EmerJencyWEBB

As an upper level resident, we are assigned to a medical student up to a week at a time, which I think is a great thing.  It really is true, the more you teach, the more you learn.  Below are some tips that I have found useful, and hopefully you will as well!

1. I like to see what they are interested in first, and see what they plan to do with their lives.  With this, you can begin to tailor the learning experience appropriately.  They will stay interested and hopefully learn something they can take with them.

2. If anything else interesting happens in your ED that you are not directly a part of, send the student away to see it.  This is why they are on rotation.  Please don’t make them see you perform a pelvic exam if a level I trauma is going on in the next bay over.  Keep them engaged.

3. Let them see a few patients primarily and let them practice EM history taking, presenting patients quickly, and forming plans.  If they are unsure what the plan should be, don’t pimp them endlessly.  This is the 21st century!  Send them to the nearest computer, direct them to the resources you use yourself for clinical questions, and let them participate in their learning experience.  It’s a different kind of practice that will serve them well in the future.  It’s not a failure if they can find the answers they need.

4.  If you follow EM journals or blogs, make them a reading list they can keep with them during the rotation.  This is especially helpful if they are interested in EM.  They will enjoy reading something different than USMLE prep books that is clinically relevant.

5. Let them get their hands dirty from time to time.  They are itching to do anything that even smells like a procedure.  

Simple tips, but ones that have served me well so far.  If you have teaching tips of your own, please post below!  

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